Among the largest vehicles on the roads and highways of the United States are 18-wheelers and semi-trucks. It is not uncommon for these massive vehicles to travel side by side with smaller passenger cars, motorcycles, cyclists, and pedestrians. Because of their sheer size, these commercial trucks are a significant threat to the occupants of passenger vehicles. Consequently, when commercial trucks crash with smaller vehicles, the drivers and passengers often sustain serious or even fatal injuries.
At Needham Kepner & Fish LLP, our San Jose truck accident attorneys have decades of experience representing bicyclists, drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians who have been injured in collisions with commercial trucks, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheelers. Because of their massive weight, commercial trucks cause a disproportionate number of traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and wrongful deaths.
Our San Jose Truck Accident Attorneys Serve Sacramento, San Francisco and Beyond
At Needham Kepner & Fish LLP, our San Jose truck accident lawyers have more than 75 years of combined experience helping injury victims in the Bay Area. We know that an injury victim faces a long, tough road ahead. Thus, we are prepared to stand by your side throughout the entire process. In a free initial consultation, we can advise you of your legal rights and options based on your unique circumstances. Then, we may be able to shoulder the legal burden of filing a claim for you, so you can focus on healing.
How to File a Truck Accident Claim in San Jose
For most people, being involved in a trucking collision is the first time in their lives that they have been catastrophically injured. In order to receive the compensation you deserve, you need to file an effective claim against the at-fault party.
Here are some steps you can take to file a successful truck accident claim in California:
- Gather evidence - After a serious collision, the police will be dispatched to the scene to collect statements and gather evidence. However, the police report may not tell the whole story. To help your claim, take pictures of the crash and your injuries and write down what you can remember of the accident before your memory fades.
- Report the accident to the insurance company - After the accident, you will need to file a claim with the at-fault party's insurer. This may be the driver's personal insurance or their employer's. Claims can usually be filed over the phone or online, depending on the insurance company. Be wary of insurance adjusters during this time, as they will most likely try to settle your claim as quickly as possible, even if it means offering a low-ball amount.
- Get medical treatment - It may seem obvious, but getting medical treatment for your injuries and any follow-up appointments and procedures is an essential part of your truck accident claim. Not getting treatment prescribed by your physician can be used against you to show that your injuries aren't as bad as you claim.
- Contact an attorney - Getting advice and assistance from an experienced truck accident lawyer can make a huge difference in your case. An attorney can help you collect necessary evidence and avoid any mistakes that may harm your claim. Your attorney can also negotiate with the at-fault party's insurer to help you receive a higher settlement than you would most likely receive on your own.
If you are ready to file a truck accident claim in San Jose or the Bay Area, Needham Kepner & Fish LLP is here to help. Our San Jose truck accident attorneys can review your case during a free consultation and help you figure out your next steps. Call (408) 716-1668 to get started!
Who Is Responsible For a Trucking Accident in California?
Trucking accident cases are complicated because commercial carriers are governed by a host of federal regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates virtually every aspect of trucking. These regulations include driving restrictions, inspections, maintenance and loading methods.
The regulations also require drivers and trucking companies to keep detailed logbooks that document maintenance history, how long the driver has been driving and other important data. When trucks collide with cars, motorcycles or bicycles, these records are critical to proving negligence.
When filing a truck accident lawsuit in California, you may be able to sue the following parties for your injuries:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company/truck driver's employer
- The owner of the truck
- The truck parts manufacturer
Our truck crash attorneys in San Jose can determine who is liable in a trucking accident. We investigate the logbooks to uncover regulatory violations, and consult with experts to determine whether the logbooks were doctored after the accident.
What Are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Our law firm has represented many victims of truck-related accidents in California. Some common causes of the truck accidents include:
- Fatigue: One of the leading causes of truck accidents is driver fatigue. For truck drivers, time is money. Therefore, many drivers force their bodies to keep driving long past the point of exhaustion. Alternatively, trucking companies may encourage employees to work long hours. This can lead to swerving and unpredictable driving behavior, which can cause a serious accident.
- Distraction: Cellphones, GPS devices, eating and using the radio are all examples of distractions that can divert a truck driver’s attention from the road and lead to a serious crash.
- Intoxication: Drugs and alcohol impair a driver’s judgment and reflexes. If you or someone you love is in an accident with an inebriated driver, then seek help from an experienced injury attorney.
- Vehicle defects: Trucks are complex pieces of machinery, so there is a lot that can go wrong. If tires, brakes or other components malfunction, then the truck driver may lose control of the vehicle and cause a devastating accident.
- Reckless driving: Truck drivers should treat their fellow motorists with courtesy and respect. Yet some big-rig drivers tailgate, speed and perform unsafe lane changes, endangering the lives of everyone on the road.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, we at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP have the experience and knowledge to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. If your condition prevents you from visiting our office, we will visit you at your home or wherever is most convenient to you.
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?
After a truck crash, you should seek any necessary medical treatment right away. Then, it is important that you contact a San Jose truck accident attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can begin gathering evidence to support your case. Since trucking companies are often responsible for these wrecks, these companies often have the most valuable evidence. This may include truck maintenance records, information about the driver and more. An attorney can take steps to obtain this evidence and prevent its loss or intentional destruction. Additionally, a lawyer will take necessary photographs of the scene and the vehicles involved and gather any available witness statements.
Furthermore, an attorney can investigate the truck itself to determine whether defects or other factors played a role in the wreck. Identifying all possible liable parties can help maximize your compensation.
After a wreck, the trucking company and/or its insurer may contact you to try to get a statement about the crash. However, you should always refuse to give a statement until you have time to consult a qualified team of San Jose truck accident lawyers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Trucking Accidents
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Firm Today
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a trucking accident, consult our experienced personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. We can answer your truck accident questions and begin gathering evidence for your case. Our trucking accident lawyers in San Jose are available for weekend and evening meetings. We handle injury cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that you pay us nothing unless you recover compensation.